Yes, "the dog days of summer" are here. And, yes, being a dog is hard, especially in the summer. Having a full coat of fur in an unbearable heat must be exhausting. All they really want to do is cool down, get belly rubs, and chill on the beach. But, wait, isn't that what we all want?

"Why do dogs get a special summer shout out," we wondered. Um, because they're adorable, that's why. (That's right. We answered our own question.) Take a slow summery scroll through these royalty-free photos below in this photo series, The Summer Days of Dog. It features some cool dogs who are living these summer days to the fullest - despite the heat - and loving every minute of it.

Each pic is available for downloading and can help bring some tail-wagging joy to any seasonal summer marketing projects you may already have in the works. Happy downloading.

Stock photo of dog in swimming pool by graphicphoto.

Stock photo of dog in swimming pool by graphicphoto.

 
Stock photo of dog with frisbee by Ksuksa.

Stock photo of dog with frisbee by Ksuksa.

 
Stock photo of dog with ice cream cone by ilumus photography.

Stock photo of dog with ice cream cone by ilumus photography.

 
Stock photo of dog relaxing on the beach by mishoo.

Stock photo of dog relaxing on the beach by mishoo.

 
Stock photo of dog in pool with frisbee by Javier Brosch.

Stock photo of dog in pool with frisbee by Javier Brosch.

 
Stock photo of dog floating with raft in pool by graphicphoto.

Stock photo of dog floating with raft in pool by graphicphoto.

Experience even more "Summer Days of Dog" in our curated lightbox below, filled with royalty-free photos of warm weather lovin' pups. Happy downloading. 

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AuthorAshley Hefnawy
CategoriesFun Friday

These days, everyone is a self-appointed photographer/curator of some sort, thanks to the accessibility smartphones give us with photo apps and software. All of these techie tips and tricks are available right on your mobile device, making it even easier to acquire some photo-editing skills on the go. Of course, it doesn't replace committing time and education to a skill that you'd like to develop, but we should start to consider these kinds of photo apps and tools as first steps toward those pro-level goals.

The app Afterlight, in particular, let's anyone snap a pic, use basic photo-editing techniques to perfect their image, and then share that freshly-edited image with their followers. 

Below are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when acquainting yourself - and using - Afterlight. I'll discuss different filters, overlay, and other cool elements of the app to help you bring your smartphone images to a whole new level. Let's go.

COLOR ADJUSTMENT TOOLS

 

FILTER PRESETS

It's easy to apply filters to any photo, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't apply different editing tools to get exactly the look you want.

In Afterlight, one of the first tabs on the bottom editing bar is for editing your photo. It has all the standard tools - including Brightness, Exposure, Contrast, and others - and it also gives you the option to edit the highlight tones, midtones, and shadow tones.

Each of those options has three colors attached to it: red, blue, and green. You can adjust each level based on how much or how little of each color you'd like to highlight in your photo. 

The selection of filters in Afterlight is one of the greatest qualities of the app. There are five different groups of filters, all of which contain some sort of theme.

  • Original. Contains classic filters, including a range of black, white, and slightly mellower tones with names like emberolive, and chestnut.
  • Guest. Contains filters that have slightly edgier tones, with higher contrasts and more options for sepia-esque colorations.
  • Seasons and Wander. These presets both have a distinct feel, giving your photos a look that is very much edited, but yields classy results. Wander is a personal favorite of mine, with its dramatic contrasts and ghostly colors. I use it for photos that I don't necessarily want to look realistic, to give them a striking look. 
  • Fusion. The most fun preset of the group, in my opinion. Fusion combines different filters of your choosing - together. You can record your process for combining filters, and in doing so, create a whole new filter. (Example: chestnut + finn = a new filter that you get to name yourself.)
 

AESTHETICS

You have the option to apply certain light leaks and film aesthetics to your photo, all within different groups that you can choose from. These achieve a vintage aesthetic for the most part. If you want to apply a dusty lens to your photo and give it an older feel, you can choose from 13 different looks.

You also have 31 choices for light leaks. Light leaks insert a colored glare on the sides of your photo and range in appearance from minimal to major, presence-wise.

  • Instant Film goes for the film photo aesthetic and provides you with 22 different framed choices. 
  • Wander is the most eclectic of the bunch, sort of combining all aspects of the aforementioned into one cohesive look. 
 

CROPS, OVERLAYS, ETC.

If you want to resize or switch the orientation of your image, you have the option to do so here. They're all relatively standard options, so if you'd like your photo to be slightly tilted, you can adjust it by selecting the diagonal rectangle.

The last option in this group, right after the tilted rectangle, is overlay. You have a lot of freedom here when selecting the image you'd like to overlay. A good rule of thumb when working with image overlay is to use one image that is contoured, and one image that is textured. You'll have the option to edit the photo with different presets that will lighten or darken your image. 

 

FRAMES 

Afterlight's abundant selection of frames is what really sets it apart from other photo-editing apps. But, if you want to upload horizontal photos to Instagram, here's a quick and easy hack: In the set of Original frames, can use the two white bar frame which will maintain your horizontal photo and place the white frame along the top and bottom. (Instagram naturally crops photos to fit their own square, so you can apply the same technique to a vertical photo, and the white frame will run on the the left and right sides of the photo.) 

You also have options to use Silhouettes, Type, Scripts, and Instant Film frames. Once you've chosen your frame, you'll also have the option of changing the frame from white to any other color you'd prefer, and you can even implement a wallpaper instead of colors. (The colors of the wallpapers are somewhat muted and can be adjusted once applied, so that they don't overshadow your actual photo.)

Be sure to take your time with Afterlight, and you'll be a pro in no time. Have fun! 

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AuthorAshley Hefnawy
CategoriesTutorials

Our free image this week is colorful, eye-catching and a bit tempting. This photo of colorful - but nondescript - candy will not only satisfy many a visual sweet tooth, but it will also sweeten up your marketing projects. The image will be available for free downloading until 11:59pm EST, Sunday May 31st, 2015.

The photo comes to us from Bigstock contributor Ebe7, from a collection that also includes royalty-free images of flowers, sunsets, and cinnamon sticks. Happy downloading! 

Posted
AuthorBrian Masefield

Seems like just yesterday we revealed Bigstock's 20 millionth image. But it wasn't. It really wasn't. That was way back in August of last year. So it's high time for another big milestone, wouldn't you say?  Yes, dear reader, our dazzling review team has just approved our 25 millionth image. 

Without further ado, we proudly present our this oh-so historic royalty-free image. It's a totally summer-appropriate cartoony illustration of a sailboat on the high seas. It's fun, lively, and perfect for capturing the marketing adventures that are ahead for everyone this season.

Cartoon Ship At Sea, from Bigstock contributor Alisen Anima, is now available for downloading. Bon voyage! 

If you're new to Bigstock and want to test the waters of our collection of (ahem) 25 million royalty-free photos and vectors, sign up for a 7-day free trial by clicking the banner below. Enjoy!

Posted
AuthorBrian Masefield
CategoriesFun Friday

If you’ve never edited a video, the process may seem a little intimidating at first. But if you have Photoshop or similar editing software, you can add images or make tweaks to your footage quickly and easily. This tutorial will provide a step-by-step guide on how to insert a stock photo into a video.

1. Opening the Movie File

To begin working with your movie file, open Photoshop and go to the File menu. Scroll down to Import and then select the Video Frames to Layers option. Select the movie file in the window that appears. In the next window, you can select several import options—either the entire video or specific frames you wish to work with.

Screen shot image of Photoshop Layers tool. 
 

2. Working Within the Timeline

If the Timeline panel isn’t displayed at the bottom of the editing window, go to the Window menu and click on Timeline. In this panel, you can choose individual frames. To edit a frame, select it within the timeline, and then select the corresponding layer in the Layer panel to the right of the editing space.

Screen shot image of Photoshop Timeline.
 

3. Resizing and Overlaying the Stock Image

Before you insert the stock image, use the Select tool within the video frame to measure the area that you want to overlay. As you click-and-drag to select, the dimensions of the selected area will appear to the right of the cursor. Write them down, and then go to the File menu and use the Open command to open the stock image file. Go to the Image menu, choose Image Size, and enter the dimensions to resize your stock image.

Screen shot image of Photoshop Select tool.

Now that the image is resized, select it, copy it, and then navigate back to the video file. Click the menu icon on the upper right corner of the Timeline display. Make sure that the New Layers Visible in all Frames option is unchecked. Choose the frame in the Timeline where you want the image overlay to start and then paste the stock photo. It will appear as a new layer in the Layers panel. If necessary, use the Move tool to adjust the photo’s position.

Screen shot image of Photoshop's Timeline function.
 

4. Adding Your Image to Multiple Frames Quickly and Easily

With most video files, you’ll be adding the same image to multiple frames. In a video that has 30 frames per second, if you want the image to show for one second, you’ll need to add it to 30 frames. You can add the image to each frame and then position it manually, but this process takes a long time. Make it easier by creating an Action to do most of the work for you.

To create an Action: 

  • Go to the Window menu.
  • Select Actions to display the Action panel.
  • At the bottom of this panel, click the Create New Action icon.
  • Give your action a name and set a function key (in pop up window).
  • After you’ve named the action and assigned a key, click the Record button to create your Action.
  • Paste your image into the desired frame.
  • Adjust its position. 
  • Click the Stop icon at the bottom of the Action panel.

You can now click each frame and press the function key you selected to automatically paste and position your image.

Screen shot image of Photoshop's "New Action" box. 
 

5. Making Images Move

When you add a still image to a video, you’ll eventually reach a point where you’ll need to make that image blend with the motion in the video. In our example, the man’s hands appear to be enlarging the map, but we want him to enlarge the graph instead. To do this, we’ll need to mask out the map in all the frames leading up to the full-sized graph.

To mask individual frames, select the frame that you want to work on in the Timeline and then select that frame’s corresponding layer in the Layer panel. Add a layer mask by clicking the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layer panel, and then use the selection tools to choose the areas you want to mask. Use the Paint Bucket tool to color the selected areas black. Repeat this step to mask each frame that needs it.

Tip: In the example that we're using here, the image remains motionless while the video moves around it. If you want the image itself to move—up, down or from one side of the screen to the other—you’ll need to position the image in each individual frame so that it appears to move as the video progresses.

Screen shot of Photoshop Layer Mask platform.
 

6. Adding Your Image to the Masked Layers

This step is similar to Step 4, but this time you’ll need to position the stock image behind each masked layer rather than on top of them.

Make sure that your stock photo is copied to the clipboard and then select a masked frame in both the Timeline and the Layer panel. Press the function key you selected to run the Action you created in Step 4. This will create a new image layer that you will need to reposition within the Layer Panel.

To move the new image layer, click on it and drag it up or down the list of layers in the Layer Panel. Move the new layer until it is below the masked video frame that you are working with. The image should appear inside the masked area of the frame, not on top of the frame. Repeat this step for each masked frame.

Screen shot image of Photoshop screen.
 

7. Previewing and Exporting

Once you’re happy with the way each frame looks, make sure the video animates smoothly by clicking the Play button in the Timeline to preview it. If everything looks good, go to File, scroll to the Export option, and click Render to Video.

You can export the video as an MP4, QuickTime file, DPX or one of many graphic file formats. Once exported, save your file as a Photoshop file (PSD) or a large format file (PSB) so that, if necessary, you can come back later to make changes to frames or layers.

Screen shot image of Photoshop's Render Video screen.

With this simple process, you can use stock photos and graphics to jazz up your video presentations, explainer videos, advertisements, and a whole lot more. And, be sure to check out these key elements of marketing videos, and some great video-editing tips for beginners for even more video know-how from Bigstock. Have fun.

Posted
AuthorBrian Masefield
CategoriesTutorials

Sometimes a good bike and a good city is all you need to have an adventure. Most of the time, you don't even need the bicycle. But isn't it great when you're in a city for the very first time and can actually feel safe about traversing its streets? Amsterdam is known for being a fantastically bike safe city, and we thought that's a good enough reason to feature it for our latest City Spotlight post. 

Scroll through to discover what Amsterdam has to offer on two wheels. All of the images in this collection can be downloaded royalty-free!

Image of bikes in front of graffiti by toxawww  The lively colors and artistry of Amsterdam's street art scene is one of the city's benchmarks. It's also one of the most pleasant discoveries to come across on a bike tour!

Image of bikes in front of graffiti by toxawww 

The lively colors and artistry of Amsterdam's street art scene is one of the city's benchmarks. It's also one of the most pleasant discoveries to come across on a bike tour!

 
Image of Amsterdam's canals by Veniamin Kraskov The canals in Amsterdam are so beautifully integrated into the city - the perfect blend of nature and urban landscape. Stop to take in the views and you might even feel a slight sea breeze. (It can happen.)

Image of Amsterdam's canals by Veniamin Kraskov

The canals in Amsterdam are so beautifully integrated into the city - the perfect blend of nature and urban landscape. Stop to take in the views and you might even feel a slight sea breeze. (It can happen.)

 
Image of secured old bikes in Amsterdam | by ginton Pit stop. (Just a friendly reminder to lock up your bike, of course. Besides, we just really love this photo.)

Image of secured old bikes in Amsterdam | by ginton

Pit stop. (Just a friendly reminder to lock up your bike, of course. Besides, we just really love this photo.)

 
Image of Python Bridge in Amsterdam by alchena A city's bridges are not only a landmark for the eyes when discovering a new place, but they also serve as a nice bit of history. This  is one of the newer bridges of Amsterdam, built in 2001. The Python Bridge went on to win the International Footbridge Award in 2002.

Image of Python Bridge in Amsterdam by alchena

A city's bridges are not only a landmark for the eyes when discovering a new place, but they also serve as a nice bit of history. This  is one of the newer bridges of Amsterdam, built in 2001. The Python Bridge went on to win the International Footbridge Award in 2002.

 
Image of Amsterdam Canal Herengracht at Night by kavalenkava volha Another angle of one of Amsterdam's canals - this time, at night. You can practically feel the romance in the air. 

Image of Amsterdam Canal Herengracht at Night by kavalenkava volha

Another angle of one of Amsterdam's canals - this time, at night. You can practically feel the romance in the air. 

 
Image of Windmill in Amsterdam by kavalenkava volha A break from the urban streets might be good for your lungs, and the windmills are a perfect excuse to get some fresh air. They sit along lush green landscapes and were once an omnipresent part of life in Holland. And though there were once 10,000 windmills all over the Netherlands, only eight remain in Amsterdam.

Image of Windmill in Amsterdam by kavalenkava volha

A break from the urban streets might be good for your lungs, and the windmills are a perfect excuse to get some fresh air. They sit along lush green landscapes and were once an omnipresent part of life in Holland. And though there were once 10,000 windmills all over the Netherlands, only eight remain in Amsterdam.

Want to explore some more? Check out our lush, lovely, and curated collection of royalty-free Amsterdam photos below. Happy downloading.

Posted
AuthorAshley Hefnawy
CategoriesGalleries

Our free image this week is a fun, vibrant serving of circles. This seamless illustration is retro design at its most whimsical, and can help compliment any lively project you have planned for summer. The image will be available for free downloading until 11:59pm EST, Sunday 24th, 2015.

The illustration comes to us from Bigstock contributor Sapunkele, from a collection that includes royalty-free images of jellyfish, angels, and even more retro fun. Happy downloading.

Posted
AuthorBrian Masefield

Give the English language some credit. It has the uncanny ability to be waaaaay more complicated than necessary. For instance, we still don't have a singular word for a slice of bread. Ridiculous. Not to worry though, because the French have it covered, using short words and phrases to describe very complex - and super specific - things.

Yes, we've had some fun with British words, Australian words, and German words. So, it's time to check out these seven French words that have no English equivalent. This oh-so helpful visual guide is comprised of royalty-free images from our very own collection. Enjoy.

1. Dépaysement: The disoriented, homesick-like feeling of not being in one's home country.

 

2. La douleur exquise: The emotional, isolating feeling of a love that is not being reciprocated.

 

3. Esprit d'escalier: When you think of a comeback a bit too late. (Literal translation is "staircase wit.")

 

4. Sortable: An adjective for the kind of person you can take anywhere, and not fear embarrassment. 

 

5. Flâneur: A purposefully aimless pedestrian, unbothered by any obligation, thriving on the culture of whatever city he/she is in.

 

6. Rire dans sa barbe: To laugh in your beard quietly while thinking about a funny moment from the past.

 

7. Seigneur-Terraces: One who sits in a coffee shop for a long period of time but spends very little money.

Hope you liked this Franco-Bigstock lesson in language. For more international fun, check out our related posts below.

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Posted
AuthorAshley Hefnawy
CategoriesFun Friday

There seems to be an infinite number of Photoshop tutorials available online, which is great—unless you don’t have Photoshop. These days, many photographers rely on free or inexpensive tools to edit their images. If you’re looking for an easy­-to­-use photo-editing app, Windows Photo Gallery is one of the best. You can download it directly from Microsoft for free and start editing photos immediately. In this post, we’ll show you how Windows Photo Gallery works and how to arrange your workflow to create professional­-looking images.

First Things First: Workflow Matters

Whether you’re using Windows Photo Gallery or another app, the order in which you make changes is extremely important. Because adjustments to color or exposure often leave behind artifacts and noise, it’s best to start with these edits. Once you’re done with that, use the retouching and red eye removal tools as necessary, and then move on to "noise" removal (more on that later).

When the bulk of the editing is complete, feel free to apply filters, convert the image to black and white, or crop it. Making changes in this order ensures that you can easily correct flaws caused by the editing process.

Which file types should you use? 

Windows Photo Gallery supports several file formats, including BMP, JPEG, JFIF, TIFF, PNG and WDP. JPEG files are one of the best formats to choose because they’re universally supported. Whether you want to post your images on the web, have prints made, or use them for anything else, choose JPEGs so you won’t run into compatibility issues.

1. Opening Your Image

Once you’re set up with Windows Photo Gallery, you can open images directly from the software’s gallery. Scroll through the timeline and double-­click the image that you’d like to edit.

Screenshot of Windows Photo Gallery.
 

2. Adjusting Exposure

Windows Photo Gallery makes it really easy to adjust exposure. Click the Exposure tool and select the option that most closely matches the look you want.

 

3. Adjusting Color

The color adjustments work just like the exposure adjustments. Click the Color option on the toolbar and choose the option that you like best.

Screenshot of Windows Photo Gallery.
 

4. Fine Tuning Color and Exposure Adjustments

The nice thing about Windows Photo Gallery is that you aren’t stuck with only a few options for color and exposure correction. If you’d like to tweak the brightness, contrast, shadows, highlights, tint or saturation, you can do so by double-­clicking on the Fine Tuning tool in the toolbar.

This will open up a panel along the right side of the screen with several editing options. Click the element that you’d like to adjust and then use the sliders to tweak the image to your liking.

Screenshot of Windows Photo Gallery.
 

5. Straightening Your Image

If your horizon line is crooked or you’d like to tilt the image, there are two ways to do it: Click Straighten in the toolbar, and Windows Photo Gallery will automatically straighten the photo for you. Or you can go to the Fine Tuning section and use the Straighten Photo slider to rotate your image.

 

6. Red ­Eye Removal

Correcting red eye is a simple task in Windows Photo Gallery. Select the Red Eye tool and then use the cursor to draw a box around the red portion of the eye. The software will automatically remove the redness.

Screenshot of Windows Photo Gallery
 

7. Retouching the Image

If certain elements of the photo are distracting, or if previous edits have resulted in a flaw, you can retouch it. First, select the Retouch tool in the toolbar. Next, draw a box around the flaw that you want to remove. Windows Photo Gallery will automatically sample nearby areas in the image to create a pattern that covers up the flawed area you selected.

Screenshot of Windows Photo Gallery
 

8. Noise Reduction

Noisy images have a grainy, splotchy look. Low light conditions are the most common cause of image noise. Certain edits, though - particularly color, exposure, and sharpness adjustments - can result in a noisy look, too. Fortunately, getting rid of noise is easy. Click the Noise Reduction tool, and Windows Photo Gallery will automatically smooth your image. Ta dah! 

Screenshot of Windows Photo Gallery
 

9. Monotone Effects

If you’d like to create a monotone image, Windows Photo Gallery has several great options. For a basic monotone conversion, go the Effects section of the toolbar and choose Black and White, Sepia, or Cyan.

There are also orange, yellow, and red filters that simulate the effect of colored filters that are mounted on your camera’s lens. Colored filters work a bit differently than a basic black and white conversion. When you use these filters, areas of the same color within the image will appear as brighter shades of gray, while areas of other colors will appear darker. So if you choose the red filter, red elements and areas with a red tint will show up as light gray, while blue and green shades will be dark gray.

If you’re unsure which effect you like best, mouse over all six effects to preview them. Once you’ve settled on one, click on it to apply it to the image.

Screenshot of Windows Photo Gallery
 

10. Cropping the Image

Once all other edits are complete, you can crop the image. Start by clicking the arrow underneath the Crop tool. This will bring up a menu with print sizes, options to rotate the selection box, and options to create custom crop sizes. Choose an option and then select the portion of the image that you’d like to keep.

Once you’ve made your selection, you can resize the selected area or drag the selection box around. When you’ve lined up the selection box, click the Crop button on the toolbar to apply the changes.

Screenshot of Windows Photo Gallery

Windows Photo Gallery may lack some of the advanced tools that come with high ­end image-editing suites, but the simplicity of this app more than makes up for its shortcomings. Not only is this software easy to learn, but it has everything you need to correct and enhance your images - and it won’t cost you a thing. 

For more helpful "intro" tips for design and photography, be sure to check out our Intro to Vectors post, or "learn to kern" with our Typography 101 tutorial. Have fun! 

Posted
AuthorBrian Masefield
CategoriesTutorials

As the saying goes, there are "cat people" and there are "frog people." Or something like that. Either way, it's safe to say that Bigstock contributor Kikkerdirk is a frog person, and we couldn't be happier about it. Kikkerdirk's up close and personal collection of frog photos is just plain cool ... even if you're more of a cat person.

Behold all of the amazing royalty-free frog photos, below. Each one is available for downloading. 

 
 
 
 
 

Jumping at the chance to see even more frog photos? Check out other fabulous amphibians in Kikkerdirk's collection below. Happy downloading.

RELATED CONTRIBUTOR SPOTLIGHT POSTS:

Posted
AuthorAshley Hefnawy